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Ann Vasc Surg. 2018 Oct;52:255-262. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2018.02.030. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

Thrombolysis in Acute Lower Limb Ischemia: Review of the Current Literature.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, "Konstantopouleio" General Hospital of Nea Ionia, Athens, Greece. Electronic address:
Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens (BRFAA), Athens, Greece.
Department of Vascular Surgery, "Konstantopouleio" General Hospital of Nea Ionia, Athens, Greece.



Catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) is a therapeutic option with acceptable results in patients with acute limb ischemia (ALI) but with severe systemic or intracranial bleeding being the most significant clinical complication. The aim of the study is to collect and present direct results of CDT in patients treated for ALI.


Reports on CDT treatment in ALI until December 2016 were searched in PubMed using the keywords catheter direct thrombolysis, acute lower limb ischemia, and any combination.


A total of 256 clinical trials were identified. After the exclusion criteria were applied, 10 articles were selected including 1,249 patients and 1,361 lower extremities treated for ALI. Acute thrombosis of a limb artery or bypass graft was the main cause of ischemia ranging from 77.7% to 98.0%. The overall technical success rate of the applied method reached 79.3% (1,079 successful cases). Complications of any type occurred in 358 (28.7%) patients. Of them, 72 (20.1%) experienced a minor complication while 286 (79.9%) had a major life-threatening complication. The need for secondary interventions was 77.8% (935 patients). The death rate during the first month was 4.2% (56 patients), while the percentage of patients who suffered amputation because of a failed thrombolysis during the same period was 11.5% (156 patients). Finally, the survival rate without amputation within 30 days was 88.5% (1.105 out of a total of 1,249 patients studied).


Results confirm the high direct technical success rate of CDT and the high percentage of patients survived without amputation within 30 days, although major complications are a great disadvantage of the method.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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